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Don't Shake My HAND.....PLEASE!

                                     Don't Shake My HAND.....PLEASE!

                                       
How you say hello when greeting a friend or family member or meeting someone for the first time may share something about your personality. It could also be sharing germs.

It’s no surprise that the hands are the most common culprits in the spread of illness – we constantly touch different surfaces (doorknobs, computer keyboards, light switches) as well as our faces, mouths, and eyes. What’s more interesting are the findings of a recent findings showing that how you use your hands in greeting others can matter. Researchers determined that more casual gestures like high fiving kept germs at bay. Shaking hands – the most common greeting – was nearly twice as likely to spread bacteria as a friendly high five, and 20 times more likely to spread bacteria than a casual fist bump.

In fact, other seemingly more intimate greetings are actually safer, from a germ-spreading standpoint. Hugging even a sick person is less likely to share the bug, and this simple display of affection actually has immune-protective benefits, reducing stress levels and blood pressure.

Continental kissing, in which you greet with a kiss to each cheek, is "safer" for your immune system than a handshake too. Air kisses have no skin contact and are therefore even less likely to spread illness. Even romantic kissing is less of a concern than a handshake. In fact, the practice may have evolved to intentionally share germs as a means to boost the immune systems of potential offspring. Though it’s still prudent to forgo a smooch session if your partner is obviously sick.

Still, we’re not likely to become a nation of fist bumpers – or continental kissers – overnight. So in the meantime, practicing conscientious hand washing – before and after preparing meals and eating, using the bathroom, tending to a sick family member, taking out the garbage, etc. – may be the simplest way to keep your greetings cordial and yourself healthy.

"Watching Your Back,"

Your Health Coach,

Dr. Ross Coccimiglio

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